I have heard this question often in various forms over the years. Sometimes children ask it because they do not understand how a father could do something like that. There are those who want to understand Christianity, but have a difficult time reconciling love and death. And, of course, those who do not believe in God see this as a contradiction that would disprove the concept of a loving God. I think this is a legitimate question to answer: how could a loving God let his only son die a horrible death on a cross?

God loves his son Jesus. That is why it must have been so painful for him to let his son leave heaven and live on this earth. It had to break God’s heart to watch his son suffer and die. This was a conscious decision on the part of God to send his son to earth, fully knowing what was going to happen. But God did not force Jesus to do this. Jesus made a conscious decision to obey God. But why did Jesus have to die?

Because God also loves each of us. He loves us so much that he wants us to spend forever in his presence. There is only one problem with that desire: not one of us is good enough to live in the presence of the holy God. Our sin, our poor choices, and our selfishness prevent us from having a forever relationship with God. So God sent his perfect, sinless son to earth to live among us and to die on a cross for our sins. He paid the price for our failures because it was the only way for us to be with him forever. So the son he loved paid for the sins of the people he loved.

And then God raised his son from the dead. Yes, it hurt to see him suffer. And he did – and does – love Jesus. But he sent him to earth as an act of love. Then he raised him from the dead as an act of love. And all of us who believe in Jesus will be raised from the dead someday to live with God forever.

God loves. And he acted on that love. I would enjoy talking with you about the God who acted on his love for us. Write me at steve@hopeforlife.org or join the blog discussion at www.hopeforlife.org.

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